Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. –Psalm 119:105
Among the Tripura tribal people of Bangladesh who are Catholic, the yearning to grow in their new faith is strong. Like newborns, they seek the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word that will help them grow into salvation. It is a bone-deep thirst.
But this thirst is not easily quenched. Illiteracy hinders their learning. Scattered among 15 wide-ranging villages, they live in an extremely remote, rugged and hilly region. Here, they lack the modern technology that could connect them to people and resources. And with only 0.2 percent (1 in 500) of the country’s population being Catholic, their source for teachers is limited.
Sister Semita Nokrek, CSC, recognized this desire to more fully embrace one’s faith and live its tenets. With a $1,000 Ministry With the Poor Fund grant, she purchased Bibles, song and prayer books, and religious articles. Accompanied by Sister Ahati Christina Tripura, CSC, and Sister Zita Rema, SSMI, they trekked to the villages, where they taught the rosary and other prayers, shared Bible stories, and sang songs.
“They seek God,” said Sister Semita, “and they are inspired to exercise their prayer life more and more.”
Courage to feel God’s love
In one village, about 35 people, mostly women, showed up. At the workshop’s close, the sisters held an evaluation. They asked questions to help the participants retain their Catholic faith learnings, which resulted in much joy and laughter. In addition, some of the women volunteered to serve as catechists, passing their new knowledge on to their Catholic family and friends.
The sisters found this effort both joyful and challenging. As they journeyed among the villages, they encountered a variety of languages and dialects spoken among the Tripura people. But the sisters embraced the challenge. “The beauty of diversity gives us courage to feel God’s love,” says Sister Semita.
Fruits of Holy Cross
Every month, Fruits of Holy Cross shares the good news of the ministries of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Our “fruits” are nourished not just by the sisters’ labors or the seed of faith planted by our founder Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, they are watered by our many prayer partners, donors and benefactors—by you.
Many priests also helped where they could, including Father Elias Palma, CSC, who traveled to the region from Dhaka. At St. John’s Catholic Church in Upper Parachara, the region’s main church, he facilitated a Catholic faith workshop for about 25 women. They listened to stories of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the importance and beauty of saying the rosary. In addition, the sisters formed a Legion of Mary, women volunteers who will serve as prayer leaders in the church.
Village by village, person by person, the thirst for understanding God’s love is being fulfilled.
Your donations to the Ministry With the Poor Fund allow the Sisters to carry forward God's love and compassion to the margins of our global world.